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MC Groovz Dance Craze Review

Developer: Mad Catz Publisher: Mad Catz
Release Date: November 22, 2004 Also On: None

Although not overly innovative, MC Groovz Dance Craze is a game of firsts: the first dance game on GCN, the first game made by MadCatz, and the first ever (to the best of my knowledge) licensed product manufactured by MadCatz. While it is fairly obvious that MadCatz made this game to try to cash in on the popularity of the genre and take advantage of a lack of competition on the GCN, the fact remains that what has been created is a fairly solid product worthy of investigation by those people who enjoy other such games.

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As a dance game, it should come as no surprise that the graphics are hardly breathtaking. Most of them are fairly basic in fact. However, the graphics on a dance game don’t really need to be all that great, and what graphics there are do not prove overly detrimental to the experience of playing the game. In other word, they are neither good enough or bad enough to distract you from the task at hand, and that is a good thing.

But where the graphics aren’t particularly important, sound is of immense importance in a dance game, and along with it the choice of songs to be put into the game. The entirety of the sound in this game is music, but that is really no surprise, as sound effects would likely detract from the experience. All of the music selected for this game comes across sounding very good, even through TV speakers, and near if not at CD quality when played through a stereo.

The only major problem I have with this category is in the choice of what songs are in the game. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow current music much, but I only recognized one artist name on the list of twenty-some songs, and that was a song by Jewel. Most of the music on this game, according to the manual, seems to have come from the late 1970s and the 1980s. Sure, the music in the game sounds great, and I can certainly appreciate music that is that age, but I have found that many people cannot, so this is an inherent weakness to the game. Ironically, much of it was used by permission from Sony Music. Go figure. Anyway, if you can stand that the music is somewhat aged, you will have no problem with either the sound quality or the song selection of this game, as it is truly quite diverse.

Anyway, so far as the gameplay goes, the game, like all dance games, is simplistic but difficult. You spread out your pad on the floor, and, depending on which style of play you choose, there will either be arrows going in eight directions or four directions (obviously, four directions is easier). You also have three difficulty levels to choose from, although I, having never played a game of this type before, found even easy to be fairly difficult.

Now, I said that the arrows head in multiple directions. I have seen DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), and I know that with it all the arrows head up to the top of the screen. However, this game is more convenient in that it actually shows you which direction you have to step in. The arrows that require you to step left go toward an icon at the left, for example. While this saves you the trouble of having to worry as much about what direction the arrows are facing, it does mean that you have to be looking at more of the screen, although I am sure that can easily be adjusted to.

There are four modes of play. Two of them are single-player and two of them are two-player. How, you may be asking, can there be two-player for a game that only comes with one beat pad? Well, there are two options. Option one is to order another beat pad from MadCatz directly, and if you are going to play a lot of multiplayer, this is the option that I’d recommend. The second option is to have one player use the beat pad and the other use a GCN controller. The primary disadvantage here is that the presses are a lot easier to time and get accurate with a GCN controller, even though using the controller requires using the D-pad (and buttons for eight way, each button corresponding to a different diagonal), or at least it did for me. Obviously, you could just both use GCN controllers as well, but the point of the game is that it is meant not to be played like that.

Anyway, the two single-player modes are called “just dance” and “workout mode”. Sadly, there are but two differences that I can spot between the two. One, where the “just dance” mode counts points, the “workout mode” counts burned calories. And two, the “workout mode” doesn’t allow you to play four-way, it has to be eight. Either way, you cannot lose before the song ends like in DDR. I would tend not to worry about the workout mode because according to the manual, it counts calories as if the player is a 120 pound woman, which most people reading this likely are not.

The two two-player modes are “dance together” and “dance face-off”. In “dance togetherâ€?, there are two different sets of arrows on the screen, one for each player, and the two try to get a high combined score. In “dance face-off”, the two players have the same set of arrows, and they try to beat the score of the other player. Either way, you need to have a big room if you are going to do this with two beat pads so neither of you get in the way of each other or put yourself at risk of hitting anything.

Now, the one thing I’m sure you’re all curious about is the quality of the beat pad itself. Please note that this section is meant only to be informative, as the quality of the beat pad does not affect the quality of the game. The beat pad works very well. It is about nine square feet, give or take a little, so anybody with a normal leg length will have no problem reaching all the sensor spots. The sensor spots are fairly sensitive when you do hit them, but I find that it will take you a while to get used to exactly where you have to step to hit the sensor spots without looking. Such is likely the story of all beat pads though. Essentially, the beat pad is very good and does everything that it needs to do quite well, and it is easy to fold up and put back into the box after you are done with it.

So far as replay value is concerned, it depends on how much you like dance games and how willing you are to keep working for the higher scores. There isn’t much internal depth to the game, as it is essentially the same thing over and over, but for those people who truly enjoy this type of game, this game is likely to bring you many hours of enjoyment.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.1
Written by Martin Review Guide